Friday, December 11, 2009

How is MC Hammer and Walt Disney related?

by Jameel Murray

Although many people believe that celebrities are rich and full of money, there are fair shares of celebrities who have filed for bankruptcy. Besides the recent news of Nicholas Cage and NBA star Antoine Walker, the public is oblivious to famous people who have filed for bankruptcy. One celebrity who should be the poster boy for bankruptcy is Mc Hammer. In 1996, Hammer owed $10 million to creditors and filed for bankruptcy. Since his bankruptcy claim, Hammer has become an entrepreneur in an attempt to reclaim success. Another bankruptcy that people never can recall was the bankruptcy of Walt Disney. In 1921, Disney began a company called laugh-o-gram, which would eventually cause him to file for bankruptcy. After his bankruptcy, Disney moved to Hollywood and became the most celebrated animator ever. Although bankruptcy can be a financial standstill in one’s life, it also teaches to be more careful with finances and can inspire one to pursue great ventures such as Walt Disney and MC Hammer.

Bank Failures Reach 133

Posted by Kenny Hernandez

NEW YORK ( -- Regulators closed regional banks in three U.S. states Friday, bringing the total number of failed banks this year to 133, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said.

Customers of the failed banks are protected. The FDIC, which has insured bank deposits since the Great Depression, currently covers accounts up to $250,000.

In Florida, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) closed Republic Federal Bank, NA, and the FDIC was named receiver.

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House of Representatives Turn Down Bankruptcy Vote

By Meredith Anderson,

The House of Representatives were quite busy on Friday as they passed the legislation to reform the nation's regulatory system by a vote of 223 to 202. The new legislation puts an end to taxpayer bailout by creating a single agency to oversee mortgages and outlaws predatory lending. With the overall proposed legislation was bankruptcy cramdown amendment proposed by Rep. John Conyers. This amendment was not favored by the House and rejected with a vote of 241 to 188. One of the main reason for the turn down was the fact that the House had past an almost identical bill back in March that was later turned down by the Senate. Another reason was the strong concerns of the mortgage banking community that stated that if passed the legislation would have further increased that cost of borrowers. There was not much released about the specifics for not including the cram down amendment in the overall package. If the past it would have helped with home foreclosures that are continuing to hurt our nation. Currently bankruptcy courts are allowed to reduce many forms of debt on boats, summer home, cars, boat, farm, but not the families primary residence. By rejecting this new clause the House state that bankruptcy courts are not allowed to reconstruct mortgages.


Types of Bankruptcy

By Shawn Chandok

When filing for bankruptcy, there are usually 2 types of bankruptcies that are common, Chapter 7 and Chapter 11. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is considered one of the worst because it is complete liquidation of assets. The court first follows a procedure where they assign a trustee to evaluate all your assets and wealth. Once that is done, he/she converts all convertible assets to cash in order to pay off debtors and creditors. However what makes chapter 7 unique is that “In most chapter 7 cases, if the debtor is an individual, he or she receives a discharge that releases him or her from personal liability for certain dischargeable debts. The debtor normally receives a discharge just a few months after the petition is filed.”
Chapter 11 bankruptcy is also known as reorganization. Under chapter 11 bankruptcy, the debtor usually has a certain amount of days to convince his debt holders why he should be given more time to pay off his debts. If the court approves this decision, the debtor is given a grace period of a certain amount of time where he will not be charged any expenses, however he must begin to pay off his previous debt to show future prosperity.


Playboy Facing Bankruptcy?

By Shawn Chandok

We have all heard of the famous entrepreneur Huff Heffner and how he is considered probably one of the world’s luckiest men alive. However, even with his glamour filled life, the economic recession of 2008 has impacted him tremendously.
Currently the CEO of Playboy is Jerome Kern, who replaced Hugh Heffner’s daughter Christine Hefner. Last year Playboy reported a $13.7 million dollar loss during their first quarter. It was stated that this loss is 3x the loss they took during the same time in 2008 which was $4.2 million. Ever since the financial crisis, Playboy has taken several initiatives to reduce costs and avoid bankruptcy. “In October 2008, Playboy laid off over a quarter of its workforce, axed its DVD business and its New York office and consequently merged its print and online operations to reduce costs significantly.” Billionaire and bachelor Hugh Heffner said he is considering selling the famous company and ending his dynasty under graphic magazines. One of the major reasons for the continuing downfall of Playboy includes the failure of its outsourced ecommerce operations. In addition to the lack of magazine sales, revenue was down more than 20% last year totaling $78.5 million. This is a perfect example of how outsourcing may not be suitable for all companies.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

CIT Shares Rise as Company Emerges From Bankruptcy

Posted by- Anshu Dixit
By- NEW YORK (Reuters)

CIT Group Inc's new shares rose as much as 6 percent from opening levels in their debut on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday as the lender to small businesses emerged from one of the largest bankruptcies in U.S. history.

CIT, one of the biggest financial sector victims of the credit crisis, is also the only major firm in the sector to emerge from bankruptcy.

Others, such as Lehman Brothers, Washington Mutual and IndyMac have been unable to continue on their own.

But the comeback may not be easy.

"In the space they are working, it is a tough time trying to secure customers for a company that has gone bankrupt," said Robert Lutts, president and chief investment officer at Cabot Money Management.

"Today, executives making decisions in the financial area are making very low-risk decisions," Lutts said. "That means don't work with the problem childs of the world, and I think that is going to mean a tough sledding for CIT."

Hundreds of thousands of small and mid-sized businesses depend on CIT for financing, and company lawyers had said the company needed to get through bankruptcy quickly to avoid customer defections.

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The Origins of the U.S. Debt Disaster

By Andrew Lipsitz

By now it should be obvious that information is the basis for all decision making in finance. The statisticians at JP Morgan were most likely well aware of this concept, and used a model to predict corporate defaults by using previous correlations in such risks. However, this was still just a guessing game in theory, because at any time correlation can change and corporations could begin to default at significant levels just because other corporations using JP Morgan are loosing confidence.

The information for supporting hundreds of billions of dollars in assets on the balance sheets just was not sufficient enough to carry out these “super-senior” risk derivatives. Also, since the derivatives received the highest ratings from Moody’s and other major rating companies, AIG agreed to take on the risk of these deals. Since AIG was insuring these credit derivatives, and making a large percentage of their income off of them, it was only natural that the two went down together as corporations began to default.

I believe that the whole catastrophe could have been avoided if the derivatives made up less of the balance sheet or if they would have been used as off-balance sheet items.

The second issue here is one of specialization versus generalization. JP Morgan wanted to compete in the mortgage loan market because competitors were getting an edge on them. For JP Morgan to enter into this unfamiliar market was a disaster from the start. Since they had no data on mortgage defaults and regulators made it difficult for them to acquire this information, it was hard for them to estimate the correlated risks. Although doing credit derivative deals with mortgage debt seemed inevitable if they wanted to properly compete, JP Morgan was not specialized in mortgage debt and did not have the required data to keep up.

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EU Classes Greek Debt Situation as 'Very Serious'

Posted by Andrew Lipsitz

BRUSSELS — The financial crisis engulfing Greece is "very serious," requires "support" from fellow EU member states and will be discussed by leaders at a summit dinner in Brussels later Thursday, the bloc's Swedish presidency said.

"It is not formally on the agenda, but I guess prime ministers will relate to the matter informally, because the situation in Greece is very serious," said Swedish European Affairs Minister Cecilia Malmstroem.

"We are of course concerned... It's a difficult situation that needs time, political courage (and) some reform.

"We are in a family, we try to support each other," she underlined.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou on Thursday called an all-party crisis meeting aiming to reassure panicked markets that Athens is ready to "clean up" its economy.

Greek debt stands at 300 billion euros, the highest in the country's history, the finance ministry in Athens announced Thursday.

Greece's sovereign debt was downgraded this week by the international ratings agency Fitch, prompting fears around Europe of dangerous spillover effects for the 16 countries that use its euro currency, and the European Union at large.

"They know what they need to do, but they are in difficulty and it will take time," Malmstroem added.

However, Finnish foreign minister Matti Vanhanen said the EU wanted reassurance that no "surprises" lurk behind Greece's latest statements.

"There are big deficits in all countries," he said. "The most important issue is that we have real information, and not surprises."

In Bonn, meanwhile German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the European Union shared a "common responsibility" for Greece.

"What happens in a member country influences all the others, particularly when you have a common currency," Merkel said after a meeting of the centre-right European People's Party (EPP) in the western German city of Bonn.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

CIT Group seeks judge's OK on bankruptcy exit plan

Posted by Chris O'Sullivan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. small business lender CIT Group Inc headed to court on Tuesday to ask a New York bankruptcy judge for approval of its prepackaged reorganization plan.

The company, which filed for bankruptcy just weeks ago on November 1, is asking Judge Allan Gropper to approve the plan, which would pave the way for the company to exit bankruptcy protection.

"We think our plan has, in fact, satisfied the conditions for approval," Gregg Galardi, an attorney at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom representing CIT, said at the beginning of a court hearing on Tuesday.

CIT, which filed one of the five largest bankruptcies in U.S. history after a debt exchange offer failed, is hoping to reduce its debt by $10 billion under the reorganization plan.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Bigtime Buyouts On The Rise...Good Or Bad For The Economy?

By: Zachary Pienkowski

During the 1980's many leveraged buyout firms jumped on the opportunity to scoop up troubled companies, restructure them, and then sell them back to the public for often an enormous profit. This trend has been carried on by private equity funds that have been formed for this very purpose. While these large buyouts have been somewhat on the downswing over the last 12 months, they are back on the rise and have recorded the second highest volume since July of 2008. The question that is raised is whether or not these large buyouts are a good thing for the economy? Large investors have made it so the stock market is no longer the place to go to make money. Private equity is longer simply a part of the financial market, it has quickly become a centerpiece which does not appear to be going anywhere. One possible threat is that an increasing number of large firms will be taken over by these pools of investors that run the company privately and have no one to answer to. The sole purpose for them is to make a return on their own investment, with little interest of others. Investors make the argument that the U.S. economy is better off when companies are operating well, but it is also difficult how much good it is actually doing for the economy, but not so hard to see how much money it makes for the investors. A result of this may be that returns on these investments may start to come down a little as these deals become harder and harder to find.


Fed’s Dudley Is Feisty on Bank Pay, Bubbles and AIG

Posted by: Zachary Pienkowski

In a feisty and expansive speech, New York Fed President Bill Dudley says he finds it “galling” and “unfair” that employees at bailed out banks are raking in big pay packages, but he says regulators need to be careful about cracking down on it.

Here it is in his words:

“This issue of compensation is obviously a hugely potent one, as there is a fundamental unfairness in what has happened over the past few years. The actions taken by the Federal Reserve and others to stabilize the financial system had the effect of rescuing many of the same financial institutions that contributed to this crisis. Many of those financial institutions are now prospering, and many of their employees will be highly compensated. This situation is unfair on its face. But it is even more galling in an environment in which the unemployment rate is 10 percent and many people are struggling to make ends meet.

“Despite the fundamental unfairness of the situation, I don’t think it is feasible or practical for the Federal Reserve, or any other supervisory entity, to attempt to determine the level of compensation at individual firms on an ongoing basis. A better approach is for supervisors to ensure that a firm’s compensation regime is consistent with an institution’s safety and soundness and with broader financial stability. That can and should have important implications for the level of individual compensation. For example, a trader should not be paid solely on the basis of this year’s accounting profits if those profits are based on the valuation of illiquid assets held on the bank’s books that could easily go down considerably in value before they are liquidated.”

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Everything you must know about Bankruptcy

By: Scarlett Lu

When you are unable to pay an organization or people you have taken credit from, you can file for insolvency which is known as bankruptcy. The main purpose people file for bankruptcy is to give a fair chance to the debtor who is honest to start a life afresh by alleviating most of his debts or to pay his creditors in new installments. They want people to have a chance in redeeming themselves. Liquidation and reorganization is the two common types of bankruptcy. When the debtors have filed in a bankruptcy case or have declared it publicly, the creditors can under no law pursue legal actions against them. When you file for bankruptcy you may lose almost everything including home, bank accounts, and even insurance.

When you file for bankruptcy it may be an emotional process but you should not rely on substances for comfort. You should make long term goals to make sure you do not become bankrupt again. Tell your family and friends do not keep it a secret; people around you will give you emotional support. Get Exercise to cope with stress. Don’t be ashamed to ask for professional help. Remember it’s a difficult time in your life; you will overcome it.

Free bankruptcy clinic made permanent

By Kara McGuire
Posted by Scarlett Lu

No one wants to be sitting across from Mary Hoben on a Thursday morning, but they are awfully glad she's there.

Hoben is one of 16 attorneys who donate their time and expertise to low-income Minnesotans at a free bankruptcy advice clinic. The new clinic, held at the U.S. Courthouses in Minneapolis or St. Paul, was set up on a trial basis this spring to assist people tackling the painful and mind-boggling task of filing for bankruptcy without an attorney's help. The walk-in clinic was made permanent this fall because demand is strong. In the worst recession since the Great Depression, is that surprising?

Bankruptcy filings in the state have surpassed levels last seen in 2004, the year before the law was overhauled in an attempt to reduce bankruptcy numbers. Filings are up 30.6 percent over last year, with 19,380 personal bankruptcies filed in Minnesota through November. Close to 1.3 million people have filed nationwide, an increase of 32.1 percent from 2008, according to the National Bankruptcy Research Center.

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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Easy Ways to Avoid Bankruptcy

By Laura Reginelli

In today’s retail oriented world, spending money on luxury items or just overspending in general can be tempting. Not knowing the proper ways to create and maintain a household budget can run your savings down into debt territory. To avoid bankruptcy, there are some proper precautions that you should take in order to insure your household’s safety.

If you see yourself slipping into debt there are a few steps that you can take in order to avoid hitting rock bottom and filing for bankruptcy. For example if you owe several different businesses, you can invest in getting a debt consolidation plan. This allows you to have all your debt consolidated into one and from there you only have to make one payment per month. This eliminates much of the hassle that is related to receiving overwhelming amounts of bills.

Another good method to avoiding bankruptcy is to limit your credit card use. If you have had serious problems with credit card debt in the past a good step is to cut all your credit cards up in order to restrain yourself from overuse.

Before deciding to file for bankruptcy it is recommended that one looks into credit counseling to determine all available options. This will allow you to create a plan to best manage your debt.

It is important to avoid bankruptcy at all costs because it can affect your credit for long after the bills are gone.


Ways to Avoid Filing for Bankruptcy

Posted by: Janielle Viggiano

There are many ways to avoid bankruptcy. Here are some of the most important ways:

  1. Find out if bankruptcy is worth it
  2. Set up a strict budget
  3. Try negotiating with creditors
  4. Raise money
  5. Opt for a lifestyle that will help you financially
  6. Debt settlement
  7. Debt consolidation program
  8. Debt management
  9. Payday loan consolidation
  10. Do it yourself plan

(Strong, 2009), (Debt consolidation care, 2009)

Some other alternative options would be to sell your assets. After you declare bankruptcy they usually take almost everything of value you own so it’s better to sell the things you no longer use to avoid filing for bankruptcy. Another way is to work more, pick up more hours at work to earn more money. Or even get another job. You should also brush up on your laws when it comes to filing for bankruptcy because they differ by geographic location. Lastly, communicate your options. According to debt steps, “Make it clear that if you cannot find a way of paying your debts, you will be forced to file for bankruptcy. This is one of the best things to do when you’re considering bankruptcy. Most creditors would rather have you pay back a fraction of what you owe than not be able to get money from you as a bankrupt.


Friday, December 4, 2009

Personal Bankruptcy Surges in US

Posted by: Christina Dove

Since the recession and financial crisis have been going on, people have been faced with tightened budgets, reduced salaries and have had to cut back spending a lot. Some people have been more affected than others and have had to file for foreclosures and file for personal bankruptcy. Although this trend has been going on for sometime now, bankruptcy has become more common as of late. The number of Americans filing personal bankruptcies surged 9% in October and were on target for the highest annual total in four years, according to a report issued Wednesday. This number also includes many businesses who have been forced to file for bankruptcy in these tough economic times. The group forecasts total bankruptcies to exceed 1.4 million in 2009, which would be the highest since 2005. It would also be an increase of at least 30% from last year. The explanation for this sudden increase is that people may have been able to survive the tough times when they first hit but now are beginning to run out of funds and forced to file for bankruptcy as their only viable option.

By filing for bankruptcy, people are able to relieve all of their current debt obligations to creditors. Although this seems like a great idea to start over new, the bankruptcy can stay on your credit report for 7 years and can make it very challenging to get approved for credit or a loan. One source estimates that the reform caused about 800,000 additional mortgage defaults and 250,000 additional foreclosures to occur in each of the past several years. Hopefully people will be able to get their feet back on the ground before having to resort to the last option of filing for bankruptcy.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Intersection of Divorce and Bankruptcy

Posted By- Anshu Dixit
By -Article provided by The Law Offices of Vincent W. Davis & Associates

In the current economy, couples who are considering a divorce need to be as concerned about how their debts will be divided as they are about their assets. In a divorce in a community property state like California, any debts of the marital estate will be divided equitably. This includes debts that are only in one spouse's name, but were incurred during the time of the marriage. Thus, spouses may be liable not only for debt held jointly in both of their names, like a mortgage, but for debt held only in one spouse's name, like a car loan.

Bankruptcy May Be The Best Choice

For divorcing couples with heavy debt loads, bankruptcy may be the best answer to relieving at least some financial stresses. Bankruptcy can be filed before, during or after a divorce. Spouses may file the bankruptcy jointly or separately.

Generally, it may be in the spouses' best interests to file a joint bankruptcy on their marital debts before filing for a divorce. This way, they may be able to eliminate some debts that otherwise would be subject to division during the property settlement portion of the divorce. For example, if the couple has a lot of consumer debt like credit cards, they may be able to discharge that debt in a Chapter 7 filing. Conversely, if the couple is facing foreclosure on their family home, they may be able to restructure their mortgage and other debts with a Chapter 13 filing. Using a joint bankruptcy to decrease the debt load can make the divorce process less contentious.

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Bankruptcy and Divorce???

By- Anshu Dixit

Marriage is something people call as, marital contract, in which, their two lives become one. Although this is true in matters of love or in the movies, and it is somewhat true in personal finance as well. Divorce is something, which leads to many other problems such as attorney expenses, children’s responsibility, sharing of property and many more. In addition to all these, there is one thing that can be an impact of divorce “personal bankruptcy”. When every these kind of problems arises, a question raised by people often include issues about who is liable for which debts, what creditors reasonably expect to collect and what happens when bankruptcy is filled before and divorce.
There are many suggestions by specialist what to do in what case, such as what if a couple is planning to file a bankruptcy after divorce, than they need to consider things such as who is going to b more liable, how would the property matter will resolve and many more. In addition, laws are different if anyone is filing for bankruptcy before marriage or as an individual. Due to the recent economic crisis, most of the people are filing for personal bankruptcy but joint because then they can deal with the problem together instead of individually. There are some clues, which can tell you if you are leading towards “bankruptcy”, such as tightness of cash in house budget, shortness of cash, and many other cash related problems. There is consoling available to guide people through the whole process of personal bankruptcy, before or after filing the bankruptcy.

Personal and Business Bankruptcy Highest Since 2005

By: Zachary Pienkowski

U.S. consumers and businesses filed 388,485 bankruptcies in the third quarter, a 33 percent increase from a year earlier, pushing this year’s total to the highest level since 2005. (Bloomberg) While bankruptcy comes with a negative connotation, many of these bankruptcies are in an effort to restructure many of these struggling companies. However, with the unemployment rate soaring over 10%, and businesses continuing to cut back, many are turning to bankruptcy. It is not hard to connect the dots of the increase in bankruptcies with the struggling economy. Despite being a bad habit which has led to many of the financial problems people are facing, the tightening of credit has made it much harder to pay bills. People used to be less concerned with paying a bill because they were able to put it on their credit cards with huge limits and then just pay the minimum balance and never get out of debt. Now they are not able to get these credit cards and are forced to pay bills with only the money they have in their bank account. With many companies laying people off and the unemployment rate continuing to rise, many people are left with little in that account. Many creditors want to help customers stay afloat and not go under because it is actually more costly for them. Creditors get nothing from their customers when they file for bankruptcy, so many want to work with someone who is struggling and cut down the amount of the debt so both parties can win.


Filing for Bankruptcy: What Goes Wrong?

By Robert Katz

There are many reasons for why people file for bankruptcy and they are probably not what you would expect. A couple of the main reasons people end up having to file for bankruptcy is because of the high costs of medical bills out of their control, have to pay the high costs lawyers and pay out a divorce settlement, and one of the most common reasons is lossing your job. One of the main reasons for the economic crash as of recent was because people were spending way more than they had expecting money to continuously flowing in with out fully thinking about the future and what could happen. When managing your personal finances it is always the best to budget for the worst in the best of times, for no matter how good things may be they can change at the drop of a hat.
People that get into these rough financial spots may not actually be completely broke because filing for bankruptcy has some benefits when you have lots of debt. When you file for bankruptcy you are admitting to being in trouble and are in effect asking for help. People file for bankruptcy because it can stop your house from being foreclosed, your property from being, repossessed, it can reduce or even eliminate the high costs of medical bills, and generally decreases the legal obligation to pay back most of your debts. These are some of the major benefits of filing for bankruptcy if you are truly in serious financial crisis. Some more minor benefits can be stopping harassing collection calls, restore utilities if they were shut off, and stop wage garnishment. Regardless of all of these benefits, if you just manage your money and budget properly, most likely, you'll never have to be in a position that filing for bankruptcy is necessary.


How Did This Happen?

Dear Readers, Picture This:

Posted By: Robert Katz

Your spouse is out of job, the monthly income is halved and your family is left without health insurance. Just as you are managing somehow by slashing all unnecessary expenses your child is hospitalized for a tonsillectomy. Past-due bills are piling up, the number of calls from nasty creditors, and the letters threatening to foreclose on your mortgage, are on the rise too. You contact non-profit debt counseling services who manage to keep their promise of permanently lowering interest rates on some of your outstanding bills. But six months on, and having paid the sign-up charge and monthly fee of the agency, your debt only increases. The counseling services seems to have profited more.

Claim for help is hollow, and the promise to rescue, a scam. The combination of high household debt levels and major corporate layoffs in the past few years has led to a sudden increase in many organizations that depend on people falling for these claims.

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Supreme Court Weighs Bankruptcy Code Provisions

Posted by Chris O'Sullivan

Article by Rachel Feintzeig (WSJ)

Bankruptcy got its moment in the Supreme Court spotlight yesterday when the justices heard oral arguments in two bankruptcy-related cases: one centered on the issue of discharging student loans in Chapter 13 and one challenging changes to the Bankruptcy Code.

The latter case could potentially have the biggest impact on bankruptcy attorneys, who are currently barred from encouraging clients who are considering filing for bankruptcy protection to take on more debt. That provision was added to the Bankruptcy Code during the 2005 revisions, along with a requirement that attorneys identify themselves as “debt-relief agencies.”

Minnesota law firm Milavetz, Gallop & Milavetz P.A. is challenging both provisions, arguing that they violate the first amendment. The firm’s attorney, G. Eric Brunstad of Dechert LLP, faced off against the U.S. Department of Justice yesterday on Capitol Hill.

The provision “basically proscribes or tells the lawyer you can’t give perfectly legitimate advice, and that’s wrong,” Brunstad said in an interview following the arguments. “The government has no compelling reason to prohibit that kind of advice.”

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The Real Deal on Bankruptcy

By: Zachary Pienkowski

Living in a society that has learned to lived completely swamped in debt, it is important to understand what really is involved in a bankruptcy proceeding. In many cases, people think that your house is off limits to the creditors. This is true in some situations, but bankruptcy law vary by region and it is critical to fully understand the laws in your area before you file. In some cases, the amount of equity you have in your home is protected, but in others that equity is not protected and you run the risk of losing your residence. Probably the most common myth about bankruptcy is that once you file all of your debts are gone you are get off free. That may be true with some debts like credit cards, but student loans, alimony, and support are not going away. Making the decision to file for bankruptcy should be carefully thought out because it will not leave you without any debts. In addition to not having control of any of those debts anymore, you unfortunately do not hold the rights to your assets anymore either. Another myth is that even though you declared bankruptcy that you will never be able to get a credit card or establish credit again. This is not entirely true, however, it is not something that will change over night. Most people typically are unsuccessful in repairing their credit within the first few years. Bankruptcy may also last longer than you think. Generally you are discharged after a period of time and can begin to rebuild your life. There are some people that can step in the way of that and keep you bankrupt for longer than you expected. This is rare however unless the bankruptcy was due to a case of fraud, in which the punishment in significantly more severe.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A look at 'White House Crasher's' Bankruptcy

Posted by Andrew Lipsitz

Tareq and Michaele Salahi have catapulted themselves into the public spotlight with their "uninvited" appearance at a White House state dinner on Nov. 24. It was President Obama's first official state dinner and the gate crashers sadly showed how easy it is (or was that night) to walk in off the street and stand within steps of two world leaders (Obama and India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh).

In an interview with NBC's "Today Show" host Matt Lauer Tuesday morning, the Salahis insisted they weren't party crashers and said the truth will come out in the Secret Service investigation.

The couple also denied reports in some media that they were trying to sell the story of their escapades to media outlets. (Reports said they wanted upwards of $100,000.) Lauer attempted to put speculation to rest by asking the couple on air if they were paid to do the NBC interview. They said they weren't.

But from the state of their financial affairs revealed in public records, they may really need the money.

Bankruptcy papers show mounds of debtIn Chapter 7 bankruptcy documents filed earlier this year in the Eastern District of Virginia, Tareq Salahi's vineyard company, Oasis Enterprises Inc., claims $335,000 in assets but $965,000 in liabilities, including at least $81,000 in credit card debts. According to, the couple faces numerous civil suits in the Virginia-D.C. area as well.

Maybe they were trying to get close to Obama to hit him up for a loan. But more likely they are a new breed of thrill seekers -- reality TV wannabes hoping to wrestle the spotlight for themselves. (They were trying out for "The Real Housewives of D.C.") Does the balloon boy stunt sound familiar here? Just like the Colorado family who falsely claimed their six-year-old son was launched into a homemade balloon, the Salahis have perhaps gotten more spotlight than they bargained for, with some members of Congress calling for an investigation of the White House security breach.

The bankruptcy filings paint a picture of a couple living the good life, funded in part by credit cards when their vineyard company started to, well, dry up. Business income of $1.7 million in 2007 dwindled to only $35,000 in 2008, according to bankruptcy records. Fancy boats and cars (including an Aston Martin) have been repossessed to pay creditors.

One creditor, Wells Fargo Bank, filed a court claim seeking $19,577.85 in credit card debt from Tareq Salahi. According to the bank's claim, Tareq Salahi, the vineyard president, had a $25,000 credit line on a business credit card with a 9.25 percent interest rate. As of May 18, 2009, when the claim was filed, Salahi's last payment on the account was $500 received July 22, 2008, making the account 330 days delinquent.

Wells Fargo lists a 475 FICO score for the account, which would put Salahi in the less-than-stellar bad credit risk category on FICO's scale of 350 to 850.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

'Office' plotlines reflect recession anxieties

By: Zachary Pienkowski

(CNN) -- Dunder Mifflin, the fictional paper company at the center of NBC's prime-time comedy "The Office," is facing bankruptcy. Staffers in the Scranton branch are anxious about their fate.

"The Office" is among a great many prime-time shows that have integrated recession-era themes into their plotlines this fall in an effort to reflect the changing American economic climate. Art imitating life on television can offer a sense of solidarity for the viewing public and a new type of coping mechanism for dealing with recession-related stress.

"Shows that deal with the recession help people to validate the full range of emotions they are feeling right now," explained Stephan J. Quentzel, psychiatrist, family physician and director of Beth Israel Hospital's Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine in New York.

"It doesn't trivialize the experience. It shows people they don't have to put on a good face and think positively. It helps them realize that they are angry, and that's OK, and that is why watching these shows is so therapeutic."

Without an entire show based specifically on the recession, financial uncertainty and economic realities have infiltrated the secondary plotlines of shows like CBS's "The Good Wife," where impending law firm layoffs on a recent episode led characters to throw furniture as they cleaned out their desks.

The anger that is apparent on the show is exactly what Quentzel means by fans being able to relate to a full range of emotions through viewing them on the small screen.

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U.S. 4th Largest Cable Operater comes out of Bankruptcy

Posted by Chris O'Sullivan

Article by Kelsey Volkmann (WSJ)

Charter Communications Inc., one of the largest cable-television and Internet services providers in Massachusetts, has emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy with $8 billion less debt.

Judge James Peck in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York approved the pre-arranged financial restructuring Nov. 17, which was filed March 27 and considered one of the nation’s largest and most complex bankruptcy filings.

Through the plan, Charter, the fourth-largest U.S. cable operator, will shave off $8 billion from the $21 billion debt it took on through acquisitions and service upgrades to compete with larger rivals. The company, which has 5.3 million customers and reported a loss every year since going public in 1999, said it expects to generate positive free cash flow through the reduction of more than $830 million in annual interest expense.

Charter’s plan generates $1.6 billion in proceeds from an equity rights offering; reinstates $11.4 billion of its senior bank debt at below-market rates; and gives Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen the largest voting interest at 35 percent.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

The Truth About Bankruptcy

By Lingxiao Li

Bankruptcy, this word sends chills up the spine. If you're facing the prospect of bankruptcy or in the middle of it right now, you know it's a living nightmare. It can devastate your job, destroy your marriage and steal your peace of mind. Do not file bankruptcy unless you really have to. Bankruptcy is listed in the top five life-altering negative events that we can go through, along with divorce, severe illness, disability, and loss of a loved one. I would never say that bankruptcy is as bad as losing a loved one, but it is life-altering and leaves deep wounds both to the psyche and the credit report. Most bankruptcy cases can be avoided with proper help, such as our certified counselors and the Total Money Makeover. Your Total Money Makeover may involve extensive amputation of stuff, which will be painful, but bankruptcy is much more painful. If you take the thoughtful step backward to get on solid ground instead of looking at the false allure of the quick fix that bankruptcy seems to offer, you will win more quickly and easily. I know from personal experience the pain of bankruptcy, foreclosure, and lawsuits. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt, and it is not worth it.

What to Expect As New Rules on Credit Cards Take Effect

Post by Lingxiao Li

Credit-card users get new protections this week, the first of a series of federal actions that constrain card issuers from changing terms on customers.

Starting Thursday, banks must comply with parts of the recently passed Credit Card Act of 2009 by mailing bills at least 21 days before their due dates and providing at least 45 days' notice before making a significant change to their rates or fees. Currently, banks are generally required to mail billing statements at least 14 days in advance and provide a 15-day notice of altered fees or rates. The new rules also will bar banks from increasing fees and rates without warning when a consumer misses a payment or exceeds a credit limit.

Consumers also will be allowed to avoid future interest-rate increases and pay off any outstanding balance over time under the original rate terms. Currently, if a consumer gets hit with a penalty rate, for example, they aren't given the option to reject the rates.

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Medical debt leads to bankruptcy

Posted by Scarlett Lu

Many people do not save enough money for emergencies such as medical debt. When a person they find out they have cancer; they have to undergo many treatments which may cost them alot of money. Some patients may not have enough money for the treatments therefore they will not have efficient treatment for the disease they have.
"59.9% of families bankrupted by medical problems indicated that medical bills contributed to bankruptcy; 47.6% cited drug costs; 35.3% had curtailed employment due to illness - often (52.8%) to care for someone else.
Many families had problems with both medical bills and income loss.
" Both people who are insured and uninsured are filing for debt due to a hospital stay or after illness. Insurance does not cover that much of the medical bill. Our health care system is not efficient enough to provide us with all the treatments we need. In order to avoid being in a difficult situation where you can't pay your medical bills, people should start saving their money. You should create a personal health savings account and do not touch this money until you get sick, start saving early, join a pharmacy discount program, and exercise daily and eat right to avoid getting sick.

Understanding Bankruptcy

By Scarlett Lu
Some people face bankruptcy but they do not understand it. It’s important to understand bankruptcy rules and when people should be filing for bankruptcy. However bankruptcy should be the last resort a company files for. Bankruptcy is a big step; it is a big change in every family’s life. There are 2 types of bankruptcy people can file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. We must determine which bankruptcy is right for us.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is when most of your unsecured debts are written off within 90 days of filing. The bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for 10 years. While debts will be forgiven, you’ll have to sell some of your property. In most cases you may lose your home or something expensive you owe such as jewelry. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is a repayment plan. Bankruptcy will remain in your record for 7 years. You set up a three or five year schedule with your creditors. You get to keep your home
Chapter 13 bankruptcy makes sense when debtor have fallen behind some payments and can still catch up and make up for it. Chapter 7 bankruptcy makes sense when you have no assets to lose.
We should make sure we are filing for the best bankruptcy that describes our situation.

Understanding the Bankruptcy Rules

Posted by Scarlett Lu
ByAleksandra Todorova

BANKRUPTCY IS A BIG step — one that will follow you around for seven to 10 years, depending on the route you take. And the requirements have become much stricter thatn they were a few years ago, thanks to changes in bankruptcy law.

Here are answers to the 10 most frequently asked questions about bankruptcy.

  1. The Basics
  2. What is the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13?
  3. Is Chapter 7 bankruptcy right for me?
  4. When does Chapter 13 make sense?
  5. Can I choose the type of bankruptcy I file?

    The Process

  6. Do I have to go through credit counseling before I file?
  7. Under Chapter 7, are there any restrictions on the kind of debts that can be discharged?
  8. Can I choose not to discharge certain debts in Chapter 7?

    The Aftermath

  9. What happens to my credit after bankruptcy?
  10. How do I rebuild my credit?
  11. How soon can I consider larger loans, like a mortgage?
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Central Columbia plan enforceable, safe despite General Growth bankruptcy, council told

Posted By Scarlett Lu
By Larry Carson

The plan to remake central Columbia is both enforceable and safe despite developer General Growth Properties' bankruptcy woes, the Howard County Council heard during its first work session on two proposed bills Monday evening.

Council members appeared reassured after the two-hour discussion, though Alan Klein, leader of a citizens group that has criticized the plan, remained skeptical.

"We can be confident we have in front of us the plan and zoning that is enforceable. We can start working on the details," council Chairwoman Mary Kay Sigaty said as the session ended. Amendments will be drafted to make sure, she said. "My goal is for it to be enforceable," she said after the meeting.

Other members also seemed satisfied.

"It allows me to go forward with more peace of mind, and look at details," said Ellicott City Democrat Courtney Watson. The discussion involved Deputy County Solicitor Paul Johnson; Jay Shulman, a private attorney hired as a consultant; William Erskine, a development lawyer who has studied recent court decisions on land use; Gabrielle Koeppel, a GGP official; and county planning director Marsha McLaughlin.

The council has plans for four more work sessions, starting Monday and continuing Dec. 2, Dec. 7 (after the regular 7:30 p.m. council legislative session) and Dec. 8, according to Sigaty, a west Columbia Democrat. All the meetings except Dec. 7 will begin at 4:30 p.m. at school board headquarters.

How to enforce aspects of the 30-year plan contained in a proposed General Plan amendment and how to make sure GGP's bankruptcy doesn't result in the loss of expensive amenities that are the heart of the huge plan were two major fears the council heard in three days of public hearings earlier in November. The second bill is a Zoning Regulation Amendment, which contains the legal basis for the zoning changes needed to allow the plan to happen.

The overall plan calls for up to 5,500 new residences, 4.3 million square feet of new commercial offices, 1.25 million square feet of retail space, hotels and a renovated Merriweather Post Pavilion. But also included are cultural buildings, large public plazas and walkways, a new transit stop and potentially a new interchange on U.S. 29.

But the lawyers said the two bills could be linked by language that would ensure that if the amenities aren't built, then the entire project would stop, even if GGP is forced to sell pieces of its holdings to other builders.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Penn Traffic to state: 3 Syracuse-area P&Cs will close, hundreds of jobs lost at Geddes warehouses

Posted By- Anshu Dixit
By Bob Niedt / The Post-Standard

Syracuse, NY -- At least three Syracuse area P&C Foods supermarkets will be closing soon, and workers at P&C owner The Penn Traffic Co.’s warehouses and distribution center in Geddes will be laid off, the company is telling the New York State Department of Labor.

P&C Foods stores in Shop City Plaza and at 620 Nottingham Road — the former Peter’s supermarket — will close by Feb. 15, as will the P&C Foods stores in Rome and Norwich, according to a required Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Penn Traffic filed with the state.

State law requires Penn to give 90 days’ notice of a shutdown of business.

The notice is a worst-case scenario for Penn Traffic, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Wednesday for the third time in 10 years. The company has stated in its bankruptcy filing that it wants to sell its assets, and if they are not sold, the stores and warehouses will be closed by Feb. 15. The outlook for some of the stores and the warehouses could change if a buyer is found for them, according to bankuptcy filings.

Penn Traffic operates 53 P&C Foods and Quality Markets in New York.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bankruptcies Hit Retirement Communities

Posted by Andrew Lipsitz

The recession is hitting elderly people where they live, literally. Financial problems have been mounting at a number of assisted-living and continuing-care communities, forcing some facilities into bankruptcies and inflicting new worries on residents and their families who thought their life plans were comfortably set. In recent weeks, Erickson Retirement Communities, which manages 19 continuing-care retirement communities in 11 states, declared bankruptcy. Sunrise Senior Living Inc. posted a quarterly loss of $82 million and announced plans to sell off 21 of its assisted-living communities. Nationally, smaller retirement communities are raising their prices, changing the way they operate, selling themselves off to bigger chains, or getting out of the business altogether. Many companies say they can't make a profit—or even succeed on a nonprofit basis—in an environment that combines the high cost of caring for elderly residents, restrictive Medicaid budgets, tight credit markets and fewer residents willing and able to pay top dollar for their care.

When a facility fails, it can have myriad effects on the residents. The good news is that no one gets kicked to the curb–at least not right away. "Nobody has ended up on the street, which is a primal fear when you're dealing with these places," says Jason Frank, an elder-law attorney in Baltimore. "But their fees can skyrocket, and they can become unaffordable. Then they can kick you out for nonpayment." In some cases, residents may find that the sizeable deposits they made to get their apartments in the first place have disappeared. (Continuing-care communities like Erickson's typically charge deposits of $150,000 or more, and assure residents that they can stay on the campus for the rest of their lives regardless of how their needs change, and that the deposits will be refundable to themselves or their heirs when they leave or die. But residents typically also have to pay monthly fees for care, and those fees can continue to increase. Assisted-living facilities like Sunrise generally require no deposits but charge a monthly pay-as-you-go-plan.) That's what happened to the 170 people who lived in Covenant at South Hills in Lebanon, Pa. Their deposits went up in smoke when their facility was sold in bankruptcy to Concordia Lutheran Ministries, which did not take on that liability. Several are now suing B'nai Brith Housing, the original operator of Covenant.

Erickson executives say that their bankruptcy filing will have no impact on residents. "We've refunded every single deposit in our 26-year history," says Tom Neubauer, the firm's executive vice president of sales. "People moving in are completely unaffected by all this." Erickson's corporate organization is complex, with each community (and that community's deposits) owned by a separate nonprofit entity that is not part of the bankruptcy filing.

But residents could face disruptions. Newer communities that haven't been completely built out yet may not have their assisted-living and nursing-home wings, so residents who need higher levels of care may end up being transferred to other facilities. Should various nonprofits not be able to resell units at the same price as the original buyers paid, those original buyers might not get their deposits back. And residents who run through their personal savings and their deposits paying for ever-higher levels of care will have to depend on an optional "benevolent fund" to cover their expenses.

Erickson has a solid reputation and good track record for keeping residents for the rest of their lives, but anyone shopping for retirement housing now should think thrice about the financial risks of their arrangements. "You've got to keep your eyes open," says Eric Carlson, director of the long-term-care project for the National Senior Citizens Law Center. "If you look at the agreements, sometimes what you're being promised is not that much. The provider may be reserving the right to force you to leave for various reasons." Often there's a generic "can't meet your needs" clause in the contract.

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Should you go bankrupt?

By: Zachary Pienkowski

NEW YORK ( -- U.S. consumer bankruptcy filings rose 37% nationwide in May from the same time a year ago. And more Americans are filing Chapter 13 -- the type of bankruptcy where you have to pay back some of your debt -- rather than Chapter 7 -- which your slate is wiped clean. The American Bankruptcy Institute expects almost one and a half million new bankruptcies by the end of the year.

1. Are you a candidate?

You're a good candidate for bankruptcy if you have high credit card debt, legal or medical debt that you don't think you'll ever be able to pay back. That's because if you can declare Chapter 7 bankruptcy, this debt is discharged.

Declaring Chapter 7 generally lets you get a fresh financial start -- but thanks to changes in the bankruptcy code, getting a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is harder. A lot of folks will only qualify to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy in which you have to pay back some of what you owe to creditors.

If you have high student loan debt, alimony payments, unpaid back taxes or court-imposed fines you can't get out of paying those debts, says bankruptcy attorney Claire Ann Resop in Wisconsin.

2. Get the details

Declaring bankruptcy is not guaranteed to save your house, but it can delay foreclosure.

When you file for bankruptcy, foreclosure proceedings are stopped dead in their tracks and won't resume until your bankruptcy is completed. That could buy you enough time to become current with your mortgage payments.

If you've missed a few mortgage payments and you declare Chapter 13, you can spread out what you owe over time. There are certain exemptions that vary from state to state. You can hold onto your retirement savings, some home equity, your Social Security, college savings, your car and household goods up to limits.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Borders on Verge of Bankruptcy

Posted by Chris O'Sullivan

Article by Jamie Dunkley

The high street retailer is thought to be holding discussions with groups including HMV as the threat of collapse draws nearer.

Borders was bought in July from Channel 4 chairman Luke Johnson's Risk Capital Partners, in a management buyout backed by Valco, a private equity firm.

However, the company has been hit by competition from supermarkets and the increasing strength of online retailers as the recession continues to hurt consumer spending. Borders has also suffered from the tightening in the credit insurance market, which has made it difficult to obtain stock from suppliers.

The company's management is now worried that it does not have enough cash to trade successfully through the busy Christmas period.

In 2008, the retailer's pre-tax losses jumped from £10.3m to £13.6m. In the accounts, published in August, its auditor Ernst & Young, raised doubts about its ability to continue as a going concern.

Last week, WH Smith ended talks about buying the bookseller. The company had been hoping to sell 36 of 45 outlets to WH Smith while its subsidiary, Books etc, held closing-down sales at the remaining stores.

It is thought that the other companies it has approached are more interested in buying packages of stores. This lack of appetite for a takeover of the whole company means it could be put into administration this week. It would then attempt to sell stores to interested parties.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Try to save...atleast for your children

By Anshu Dixit

Many families have filed for bankruptcy. Everyone in the family suffers by filing bankruptcy due to the financial crisis. Adults understand the situation but what about the most emotional and sensitive person in the house, what about children. Children do not understand that, what can happen due to financial crisis, bankruptcy is one of them. During bankruptcy procedure a family can lose many things like their home, vehicles, and any other properties they might have. This is difficult for kids to go through because they are losing what is most precious to them. Because sometimes these things are not just thins but precious memories for them. It is not easy to make them understand that why their parents are doing that and why they cannot live the lifestyle they used to. It is a not easy to explain it to kids. Usually people can get rid of many debts but filing for bankruptcy, but they cannot avoid their children’s responsibilities if the parents are separated. The bankruptcy does not only effects children emotionally but financially and socially as well. Your child’s bank account would not be safe if that is under your name at the time of bankruptcy. The bankruptcy court can order you to not to contribute towards your child’s college expenses. If you think that bankruptcy is the only option, it is not true always. You can deal with this problem little bit more efficiently if you can some expert’s advices like bankruptcy expert lawyer. They can tell you what other options are available for you. But do not wait until last minute to see you legal advisor because sooner the better.

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CIT Group Says Bankruptcy Plan Wins Wide Support

Posted by Anshu Dixit
Filed at 10:50 a.m. ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) - CIT Group Inc on Thursday said it has won overwhelming support from bondholders for its reorganization plan, as the big finance company tries to emerge from bankruptcy by the end of the year.

The New York-based company said it was won "substantially in excess" of the minimum support needed under U.S. bankruptcy law to restructure from all classes of bondholders eligible to vote on its "prepackaged" Chapter 11 plan.

CIT on November 1 filed one of the five largest bankruptcies in U.S. history, hoping to reduce debt by $10 billion.

Hundreds of thousands of small- and mid-sized businesses depend on CIT for financing, and company lawyers have said CIT has a "need for speed" in getting through bankruptcy on concern that many customers could defect if the process drags on.

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